Tag: alumni

The most interesting artifact from MSU’s historic campus? The “Moor” artifact, 10 years later

The most interesting artifact from MSU’s historic campus? The “Moor” artifact, 10 years later

If you’ve been following CAP for a while you’ve probably seen us post about the “Moor” artifact: a small piece of mortar sporting the letters “Moor” in handwritten cursive script. Despite its unassuming appearance, what makes this artifact so fascinating is the incredible story behind…

Alumni Highlight: Terry Brock

Alumni Highlight: Terry Brock

Dr. Terry Brock is a historical and public archaeologist, and is currently the Assistant Director of Archaeology at the Montpelier Foundation in Orange, Virginia. He served as the first Campus Archaeologist from 2008 to 2010 while a graduate student at MSU. As someone who was…

ALUMNI HIGHLIGHT: KATE FREDERICK

ALUMNI HIGHLIGHT: KATE FREDERICK

Dr. Kate Frederick, a recent MSU graduate, worked with Campus Archaeology for two years, where she says she gained wide range of skills sets. She stated that though she had a decade of archaeological experience, there was a steep learning curve in the role of a CAP Fellow due to the diversity in job duties, including cultural resource management, public outreach, and digital humanities. Her reflection upon her time as a fellow highlights public engagement via social media and public outreach events. Check out our Q&A with Dr. Frederick to see why she believes public engagement is such an important component of Campus Archaeology, as well as some of her favorite memories and contributions to the program.


Q: What years were you a Campus Archaeologist?

A: I was a CAP Fellow from August 2013 to August 2015.

cap cafe

Q: What were the major projects that you worked on/with fellows on?

A: In terms of construction projects, I oversaw the Phase III and Phase IV of the steam tunnel reconstruction. It was during the third phase that we found the original Vet Lab, and during the final phase that we discovered the privy near the MSU Museum. In terms of other projects, I instituted the Apparitions and Archaeology tour. I thought it would be a fun way to talk about the history of MSU. I also started the CAP Café, a casual archaeology lecture.

Q: What was the most important thing you got out of CAP?

A: The power of social media and public outreach. I learned that archaeology cannot thrive as a discipline without public engagement. If we do not disseminate the importance of archaeology and stewardship to the public through outreach programs and social media, then we are shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot.

Q: In what ways did CAP make you more marketable when searching for a job?

A: Because the Campus Archaeologist wears many hats, I learned several valuable skills that I’ve found useful in my jobs since. CAP taught me to be flexible in the field and to juggle several projects at a time. In a single day, a Campus Archaeologist can go from shovel testing a series of sidewalks in the morning, to archival research in the afternoon, and ending with a campus tour.

Q: How did the skills and knowledge gained in CAP help you in your job now?

A: Before becoming Campus Archaeologist I was a social media minimalist. I quickly learned not only how to productively utilize social media platforms, but also how integral social media can be to public engagement.

CAP crew working side by side with the construction crew.

Q: What was your biggest challenge as a Campus Archaeologist?

A: The biggest task as Campus Archaeologist is captivating an unwillingly captivated audience; the construction workers. An integral aspect of the position of Campus Archaeologist is explaining why CAP is important. This is most often done in front of an audience of construction workers that are required to listen, but definitely don’t want to listen. Getting on my soap box and explaining why it’s important we halt construction for a few days so we can excavate an historic privy, does not captivate the audience. Telling workers that we’re going to delay their deadline because we found some cool ceramics is a tough pill to swallow when it means late night and earlier mornings for the workers who now need to make up that time delay. Construction workers are the first eyes on the archaeology. They have the power to call us or just inform us after the fact; obviously, our goal is the former. Because we run the risk of being seen as a nuisance, we have to instill a sense of stewardship in the construction workers. We have to show the value in our work through the big picture.

Q: What was your favorite part or memory of CAP (highlights)?

A: My favorite aspect of being Campus Archaeologist was becoming intimately familiar with MSU and its history. I started at MSU as an undergrad in 2004, then continued my graduate career here in 2011. I bleed green. It was always exciting to uncover some little known or long forgotten piece of MSU’s history.


We would like to thank Dr. Frederick for taking the time to answer questions about her time as an MSU Campus Archaeologist. She truly reveals her love of public engagement in a way that encourages future archaeologists to consider ways in which they can disseminate information to the general public in a captivating manner.

ALUMNI HIGHLIGHT: CHRIS STAWSKI

ALUMNI HIGHLIGHT: CHRIS STAWSKI

        Chris Stawski was involved with Campus Archaeology at its inception, beginning as an archaeological technician in the summer of 2008.  Chris also held the position of Campus Archaeologist during the 2010-2011 academic year.  During his tenure with CAP, he was a…

Alumni Highlight: Amy Michael

Alumni Highlight: Amy Michael

Dr. Amy Michael is a biological anthropologist whose research examines the microstructure of human bones and teeth in order to address questions ranging from health and social identity in the ancient Maya to the effect of lifestyle factors on skeletal age. She is currently a…

ALUMNI HIGHLIGHT: KATE MEYERS EMERY

ALUMNI HIGHLIGHT: KATE MEYERS EMERY

Kate Meyers Emery, CAP Alumni
Kate Meyers Emery, CAP Alumni

Michigan State’s Campus Archaeology program has provided fellowships for a number of graduate students in anthropology. These fellowships are awarded to enthusiastic, motivated students who are interested in gaining a unique learning experience. The fellows dedicate a lot of time and energy into conducting research involving archaeological projects on the Michigan State campus, as well as presenting their work at conferences and participating in public outreach events to educate the public on our program. Due to the amount of effort exerted by each fellow, we thought it would be a great idea to highlight alumni by interviewing them about their experience in the Campus Archaeology program.  

In our last blog post, we interviewed Lisa Bright, former Campus Archaeologist, which can be viewed here. For our second alumni highlight, we interviewed Dr. Kate Meyers Emery. Dr. Emery graduated from Michigan State University in 2016 and secured a position as the Manager of Digital Engagement of the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. We asked a Dr. Emery a series of questions (below) to learn about her experience as a fellow, but we were also interested in learning how participating in the program helped her to secure her current position and how she continues to apply skills learned in Campus Archaeology in her career.



Q: What years were you a Campus Archaeologist? 
 
A: I was the Campus Archaeologist from 2011 to 2013, my second through fourth years of grad school, but I was part of CampusArchaeology the entire time I was at Michigan State, from being part of the team my first year in 2010, to being a teaching assistant and team member in my last two years from 2013-2016.

Demolition of Morrill Hall
Photo by Katy Meyers Emery

Q: What were the major projects that you worked on/with fellows on? 
 
A: I had the opportunity to work on some really amazing projects during my time in Campus Archaeology, including the demolition of Morrill Hall and discovery of the related boiler, and the opportunity to excavate a portion of Saints’ Rest that had been previously undisturbed. My final summer with CAP, I got to help lead the field school that excavated the Gunson House midden, which helped us to learn more about a period of campus history that we had been lacking for physical evidence.

Q: What was the most important thing you got out of CAP? 
 
A: There was a lot I learned as part of CAP, from technical skills like report writing and GIS, to more broad skills like how to lead a team and be a mentor. I think the most important was how to communicate with the public about a topic that they may have either misconceptions about, or that they might have no background in. 

Q: In what ways did CAP make you more marketable when searching for a job? 
 
A: CAP gave me a lot of highly transferable skills that could be applied to a wide range of positions. I learned how to lead a diverse team with varying skills levels and how to work with different types of departments across an institution. I learned how to write technical reports, blog posts, social media, conference papers, and public presentations, all of which require a slightly different tone and approach. I learned how to use a wide range of digital tools, from mobile apps to social media to databases to mapping programs. Throughout the entire process, I was also learning how to be a professional, how to present myself to others, how to network, how to maintain relationships, how to showcase myself as part of a team.

Q: How did CAP help you in your job now? 
 
A: In my current position as manager of digital engagement at the George Eastman Museum, I’m using various digital tools to reach the public and share what the museum is doing and has in its collections. Many of the skills I use on a day to day basis were ones I either developed or honed as part of CAP. I give public tours of museum exhibitions and the historic mansion at Eastman Museum; a skill I developed as Campus Archaeologist, giving historic tours of the campus. I use social media and blog posts to share what is occurring at the museum; a talent that was honed over the course of my time with CAP using a variety of methods to showcase what we were doing and discovering. I find creative ways to engage the public in our exhibitions by using podcasts, maps, scavenger hunts and more; a skill I used frequently as part of CAP to find new and interesting ways to present what we were doing.

Kate Meyers Emery, CAP Alumni

Q: What was your biggest challenge as a Campus Archaeologist? 
 
A: We had some pretty daunting projects while I was the Campus Archaeologist, primarily revolving around the replacement of the steam tunnels around West Circle. There was so much happening at the same time. We would be doing a planned survey in one area, while monitoring construction in another area, all while trying to keep up with planning our next phases in collaboration with the construction crews. We had a couple really intense summers, and had to make a lot of decisions about where our energy was going and how we would divide up the crew to cover everything. During this period, I learned a lot about project management, leadership, and multitasking. 

Q: What was your favorite part of CAP (highlights)? 
 
A: There were a lot of great moments for me in Campus Archaeology, but the thing I remember the most fondly was getting to share what we were doing with both the academic community and the broader public. I loved when people stopped by to learn more about what we were finding, I loved sharing new discoveries on social media, I loved getting to work with others to present on our findings. That probably explains why I’ve ended up in a job where my focus is communicating the past with the public.


It is clear that Campus Archaeology has positively impacted Dr. Emery in both her past and present experiences. I suspect she will continue to be able to apply the many skills gained as a fellow in her future endeavors. I, along with all current fellows, would like to thank Dr. Emery for taking the time to share her thoughts and reflections, as well as all of the hard work she put in during her time at Michigan State University to help make the program successful.

Please visit the Campus Archaeology alumni page to learn more about our past fellows and what they are doing now (http://campusarch.msu.edu/?page_id=6301).

The Importance of Cultural Heritage

The Importance of Cultural Heritage

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Thankfully MSU students typically have no trouble finding something green to wear today. In the past week, the intentional destruction of archaeology sites and materials by ISIS has been making headlines. If you’re not familiar with the situation an excellent summary…